A Child Arrangements Order is indicated to mean an order regulating arrangements relating to any of the following:
- With whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact
- When a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person
In reality there is little difference between the previously used Residence and Contact Orders and what is now in force. However, the removal of Residence Orders will give less emphasis to the “possession” by the main carer of the child of such an order as the new child arrangements order are far more generic and softer in their language whilst achieving exactly the same result. Furthermore an introduction of a mandatory Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to take place before an application or hearing for both parties looks to promote more amicable and reasoned approach to proceedings. These take place with a third party independent mediator. Should mediation fail, the proceedings will take place and a CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) officer is appointment to safeguard the best interests and wishes of the children.